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Thursday August 21st 2014

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Johnny Apple-Eyes: Livin’ the Fever Dream

By Sarah McCartan

From playing “Music for Music’s Sake” and “Shaking up the Scene”, all the way to the here and now, “Livin’ the Fever Dream”. Battling changes, growing pains, the forces of the universe, the power of friendship, and the passion that drives doing what you love have collided, resulting in the birth of “Fever Dream”. This dynamic and much anticipated EP boasts chilling and refreshingly all natural three-part harmonies and represents a more “grown-up but still growing” Johnny Apple-Eyes.

Unique in its composition, “Fever Dream” is a story in itself of how the band has changed over the past three years and represents an awakening of a new season of ideas.

While the selected tracks showcase three individual songwriters, they flow together quite seamlessly, yielding something that while slightly complex in nature, is undeniably ear pleasing. The individual artistry has resulted in a melodic mix of something beautiful—from the catchy, energetic opening track “Waiting” to the heavier, gradually building enchantment that “Fever” delivers, transitioning into a soothing keyboard-driven introduction in “Love for Fun”.

Catching up with Johnny Apple-Eyes is much like sitting around a table with friends; no really, it is exactly that. Best friends and strangers alike, anyone can see through talking to them for even a few minutes the heart and soul that exists behind the music. The IN is here to affirm that beyond simply writing songs, they are writing a story they are sharing through their music. “At its core, music is purely a means of expression of what you have to say, whether musically or lyrically,” Jennifer Morgan (keyboards, vocals) expressed.

Like most other acts, new bands and new influences have shaped Johnny Apple-Eyes; however, the majority of their changes have been part of a developmental growing process undergone individually and together. “We were originally going to be a Southern Americana folk band, but then our guitars got louder and louder and here we are. We are figuring out more and more what we are wanting to do,” Jarrod Burris (guitar, vocals) shared. They explain the direction in which they are going as one that is more melodic, more steady and less of a “rock band”. As Geoff Peck (bass, vocals) shared, experimenting with different instruments and new sounds was a phase that opened a door.

DIY

None of the members of Johnny Apple-Eyes are strangers to the world of DIY “Do It Yourself” projects. Through late nights and the balancing of hectic schedules, the group has managed to execute this EP as their latest DIY endeavor, completed in-home by drummer Paul Kimsal. “In half of Jennifer’s vocals there is chicken cooking in the background. You can make that a quote,” said Peck.
Although this time they outsourced the artwork to friend Jay Martin, allowing him to draw something he felt was indicative of the music and sharing a new perspective, the screen-printing of the artwork for the album will be another DIY group effort project under the lead of Richard Humphreys (guitar, keyboards).

Honorable Mentions

As with most bands, Johnny Apple-Eyes got to where they are as a part of a journey and a collaborative process. Everyone has a few things they want to credit as honorable mentions, one of these for Johnny Apple-Eyes being Friends Fight label mates, El Cantador. “Us recording the split EP with El Cantador changed the direction we both were going in; obviously, in getting together, collaborating with keys and adding vocals on top of each other’s and getting more into sounds and different instrumentation,” Peck shares. “They are a lot of the reason that we are still around if you ask me. We went through a lot of growing pains,” Burris added.

Mobile Bound and Beyond

Johnny Apple-Eyes has already released the EP on Bandcamp, available for $3. You can also pick up the hard copy at their show this Saturday at The Blind Mule in Mobile for just $4. If you like what you hear, (which you will, no pressure) be on the lookout for a CD release on the home front in late September.
As far as recording and the future goes, although the future is an uncertain beast, Peck explained, “Our goals and priorities have certainly become writing good songs, playing when we can, maybe recording more and putting out more stuff. Even if we are not playing as much, we will still be giving you good music.

Notable Quotables

“We are going to try and write more songs that just feel good. Right guys?”–Burris
“Yeah!”–Peck & Morgan
“That’s a great quote. If you only knew we really have no idea.”–Peck
“I guess that is part of the beauty of it. I don’t think anyone ever really knows. You make what you make.”–Burris
“It’s the only thing we’re good at. We’re not good at fantasy football or anything like that.”–Peck
“Speak for yourself.”–Burris
“Do what you love everybody!”–Burris
“Read the blogs y’all.”–Peck
“Check out our EP y’all!”–Morgan

JOHNNY APPLE-EYES EP RELEASE SHOW
WHAT: Johnny Apple-Eyes with Pioneers! Oh Pioneers! and Jpegasus
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27
WHERE: The Blind Mule, 57 N. Claiborne St. Mobile, Ala.
COST: $5 at the door
DETAILS: For more information call (251) 694-6853. Download the album at johnnyappleeyes.bandcamp.com